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In Step With DC
Costume Care & Tutu Basics
Written by Erin Sforza on April 2, 2019

It’s time for a primer on how to care for your costumes as we get ready to start trying them on in class! Sometimes it’s difficult to know what you can do to keep costumes and tutus especially in top recital shape. Here are some tips to make sure you show up looking like the pro that you are!

For costumes in general:

  • Make sure to look over them completely to make sure there are no pulls, tears, missing accessories, etc. Bring any of these to the attention of your teacher so they can evaluate what kind of fix is best.
  • Take out your costume and hang it up out of direct sunlight (preferably covered in a garment bag or protector of some kind), which can fade fabric AND sequins.
  • Dry cleaning is not recommended as the heat may damage fabric, and embellishments.
  • If you get your costume dirty, it’s best to spot clean it with a gentle liquid soap like Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint version. Make sure to check your costume’s label before treating to make sure you clean it correctly.
  • During recital weekend if your dancer is wearing a costume multiple times you can spot clean it in the places where it is needed most such as the bottom of a leotard or underarm areas. Tights should be washed after every performance as should leotards without sequins or other embellishments. To refresh the costumes you can lightly spray them with a mixture of alcohol and water (many professional dance companies use a little vodka) to keep odors at bay.
  • Make sure all costume pieces are completely dry before returning to garment bags, as costumes can mold very quickly!
  • After recital a quick hand wash in cold water with soap specifically made for hand washing should get it ready to put into storage. After it dries completely, it can be hung in a closet or put in to a plastic storage bin.

For Tutus:

  • Tutus are notoriously difficult to clean stains out of so make sure to keep them out of food’s way as much as possible!
  • When you get you costume home immediately take out the ones with tutus and hang them upside-down fluffing the tutu gently by hand
  • The tutu should be steamed before dress rehearsal to remove wrinkles. Use a garment steamer, no irons! The heat from the iron may actually melt or warp your tutu!
  • Let us know if your tutus have any rips, tears, or other damage so we can advise on how best to repair them.
  • Check out the video below for a quick tutu steaming tutorial!
Erin Sforza

Erin is the Public Relations Coordinator for Dance Connection. She studied dance from childhood through college and continues to be an active member of the Long Island theatre community. Erin received a BA in both Musical Theatre Performance and History from the University of Tampa, and has utilized aspects of both degrees working in the hospitality industry, as an Event Coordinator for the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, and as the PR/Marketing Coordinator and Group Sales Coordinator for the CM Performing Arts Center in Oakdale. In addition to being a part of the Dance Connection staff, she is a Travel Consultant affiliated with MouseEarVacations.com and CruisingCo.com.